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New Pac-12 bowl schedule starts in 2020 with Vegas bump and LA addition

There are going to be some changes (good and bad) to the Pac-12’s bowl scheduled starting next year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kansas State vs UC Irvine Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made no secret here about our ... shall we say distaste with the Pac-12’s bowl scheduling in the past. This year, though better, it’s only marginally so, with multiple bowl games scheduled for close kick times. Add in those times to some rather undesirable locations and you’ve got the makings for arguably the most miserable postseason schedule in the Power Five.

Starting next year though, some of that is going to get fixed! And, of course, because it’s the Pac-12, some of it is going to get worse (we think the former outweighs the latter though).

Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported today some fairly substantial bowl shake ups. This follows a March report from McMurphy that the Las Vegas Bowl would be moving up the bowl pecking order for the Pac-12 when we made our own predictions about what would land where. We got pretty close!

Here is the new reported bowl tie-ins for the Pac-12 in 2020 through at least 2025 according to McMurphy (this does not include any potential NY6 games):

  1. Rose v. Big Ten
  2. Alamo v. Big 12
  3. Las Vegas v. SEC or Big Ten
  4. Los Angeles v. MW
  5. Holiday v. ACC
  6. Redbox v. Big Ten
  7. Sun v. ACC
  8. Independence v. ACC

So, lets go through the good and the bad here:

Good: Vegas Bowl moves up, opponent quality improves

We all kind of saw this one coming, especially with the new Raiders stadium scheduled to open in time for the 2020 edition of the game. Vegas is an easy travel destination from, well, anywhere and a move up to the #3 bowl for the Pac-12 with a much better opponent is a very good thing.

Good: Sun Bowl goes down

Yes, I know the Sun Bowl is a long standing, traditional bowl. But my goodness, it is a pain to get to El Paso. Combined with the fact that it’s the only bowl game CBS broadcasts and they’re fine with missing Jamal Morrow touchdowns for the end of college basketball games (plus, no more Uncle Verne) and this one is fine by me.

Good: Easy traveling to most games

Four of the bowl games will be in California, all with a major international airport featuring dozens of flights from all over the Pac-12’s footprint every day. That’s good when it comes to travel costs! One of the other ones is in Vegas. Also easy to get to!

Bad: The LA Bowl opponent

Besides the fact that this game will have to find a home in 2020 (probably the StubHub Center) before the new Chargers/Rams stadium opens, the opponent is ... yikes. This will inevitably be the Mountain West’s best team and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it fill the slot on ABC the Las Vegas Bowl currently occupies on the first Saturday of bowl season but that is a #notgood opponent for the fourth most important bowl on your calendar.

Bad: The Independence Bowl

This ... is ... interesting? I guess? I don’t exactly think of Northern Louisiana as Pac-12 Football Country but it’s not exactly ACC country either. This seems very much like a “who cares how many people go, money for the schools” type bowl game so congrats to the people of Shreveport on their yearly Arizona v. North Carolina State match-up.

Bad: No more Cheez-It-Bowl

Okay, this one is more personal but now I’ll never get all that Cheez-It swag and we are abandoning the home of the greatest bowl game any Pac-12 team has ever played and I will meet you in Temecula to fight if you wanna throw hands over it.